Visceral fat: Certain amount of protein needed with every meal to burn belly fat

Eating 25g of protein with every meal will help you burn fat (Image: Getty Images)

Our bodies must have visceral fat in order to function properly. Visceral fat, which is stored deep inside the abdomen and serves as insulation and protection for our organs, differs from subcutaneous fat, which is visible beneath the skin. However, it might be dangerous in excess.

Storing an excessive amount of visceral fat in the body is known to result in a range of issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. As you would expect, having too much visceral fat is caused by eating too many calories and not exercising enough. One expert spoke with about some of the best ways to reduce belly fat.

Pippa Campbell, a nutritionist and expert in nutrigenomics, advised eating at least 25 grammes of protein with each meal to minimise visceral fat.

She said: “Visceral fat wraps around our internal organs deep inside the body and when we consume foods with a high sugar and fat content, we are designed to store excess belly fat for the ‘scarce’ times that may be ahead (from when we were hunter-gatherers).

“Insulin is released when we eat carbohydrates to instruct cells to utilise the glucose as energy and to regulate the quantity of sugar in the bloodstream.

Therefore, if we regularly consume foods high in carbohydrates, our bodies will continually produce more and more insulin in an effort to control our blood sugar levels, which tells our bodies to store more sugar as fat.

Therefore, you should aim to avoid snacking throughout the day because doing so causes our insulin levels to continually rise in an effort to control our blood sugar levels. Instead, strive to consume three smaller meals and no snacks.

“I also recommend eating at least 25g of protein at each meal to support stress, balance blood sugars and help support satiety.”

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds are examples of foods high in protein.

Ms. Campbell went into greater detail regarding how sugar impedes weight loss.

“Excess sugar consumption can also make us resilient to leptin, which is an appetite suppressing hormone and naturally tells us when we are full,” she said.

“If we have high levels of insulin, this blocks the leptin signals in our brain, so we just carry on eating.

“Try to prioritise quality sleep, as when we don’t sleep well, this affects the satiety hormone, leptin, as it becomes deregulated, leaving us feeling hungrier and more likely to reach for sweet treats and refined carbs.”

As well as eating plenty of protein she recommended the following foods to bust belly fat:

  • Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, courgettes⁠, sweet potatoes, squash⁠⁠
  • Lower sugar fruits – berries, apples, pears, cherries, lemon, lime ⁠
  • Foods high in fibre – lentils, chickpeas, butter beans⁠
  • Whole-grains in moderation- pasta, soba noodles, rice noodles⁠, rice, quinoa, barley & buckwheat⁠⁠
  • Milk, cheese, yoghurt, coconut milk, almond milk⁠⁠ ⁠
  • Olive oil ⁠
  • Omega-3 fatty acids ⁠
  • Foods high in antioxidants
  • Add apple cider vinegar to dressings⁠.

She advised against eating too many carbohydrates.

“You should try to ditch carbs at breakfast and lunch,” she added.

“Swap your porridge oats or granola for a protein-rich breakfast such as two boiled eggs, smoked salmon or a protein shake.

“This helps boost your metabolism right at the start of the day.

“Lunch should be a good plate of salad with a variety of coloured veg and a lean protein such as chicken, fish or tofu.”

It’s not possible to know how much visceral fat is hidden in the body without imaging tests.

But you can get a rough estimate by measuring your waist using the belly button as a marker.

For women 35 inches or more can signal visceral fat and for men it’s 40 inches.

For an added boost in torching calories, you can increase your exercise with the help of an energy-boosting supplement like branched-chain amino acids.

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